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Caithness News Bulletins November 2004
DOUNREAY’S 1000th APPRENTICE TELLS FIRST MINISTER OF INTERNATIONAL
UKAEA’s 1000th engineering apprentice at Dounreay was introduced to First Minister Jack McConnell today and told him: “The skills I’m learning can become Scotland’s newest export to the world.”
Gary Davidson (18) from Wick was speaking at the annual UKAEA apprentice-giving ceremony at the Pentland Hotel, Thurso, where the First Minister was the guest of honour. He visited Dounreay afterwards to see Scotland’s largest nuclear decommissioning project.
Mr McConnell heard how the apprentice training programme set up at Dounreay in 1955 had been the springboard for many young people from the Highlands and Islands to achieve outstanding success in engineering careers throughout the world.
“Today, the craft skills we are learning are those needed to decommission Dounreay,” said Gary. “These skills are in increasing demand throughout the world as more and more nuclear facilities reach the end of their natural lives. Just as the skills of previous generations of Dounreay apprentices were greatly sought after internationally, I believe the skills we are learning at Dounreay today in nuclear will become another export Scotland can be proud of.”
Mr McConnell presented certificates to the latest group of 12 engineering apprentices and scientific and clerical trainees to complete their training at Dounreay.
Site director Norman Harrison said: “Today, on the eve of the 50th anniversary of UKAEA Dounreay, we celebrate our 1000th engineering apprentice, Gary Davidson from Wick. Next year we will celebrate our 1000th recruit in scientific and clerical training.
“Just as our predecessors did 50 years
ago, we are gathering here in Caithness some of the brightest and most
able talent Britain has to offer, this time focussed on nuclear
decommissioning. We are creating and
“Decommissioning Dounreay is not the end of something old but the start of something new, an exciting new challenge and opportunity with the potential to sustain the prosperity of this area beyond the closure of Dounreay.
“I believe in this potential. I believe Scotland has a rich resource here, a resource to be immensely proud of, that can lead not just in the UK but the world, with the skills and expertise needed to safely dismantle other nuclear facilities when they come to the end of their natural lives. I do not underestimate that challenge and I do not underestimate the challenge to every organisation with an important role to play in unlocking our potential – the Scottish Executive, the enterprise network, the Highland Council, the college, UHI, the locally based contractors and so on.
“My vision for Dounreay is to fulfil that potential, to export Scottish skills to other parts of the world, to establish Dounreay and UKAEA as the centre of excellence in nuclear decommissioning. My vision is to bring the benefits back to Scotland, to create a strong international organisation around Dounreay that the people of Scotland own and can be proud. My vision is to see the rewards come to Scotland and not the United States of America.”
“It is into this rich Scottish resource full of potential that today we welcome our newest recruits. I wish them every success for their future with us.”